Restaurants & Bars

Pacific Northwest

LARK VS. UNION: AND THE WINNER IS.......(long)

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LARK VS. UNION: AND THE WINNER IS.......(long)

BILLY RUNAWAY | May 23, 2004 01:30 PM

Just finished back-to-back nights at Lark and Union per recommendations on this board (also ate at Etta's - see review under my original post(5/18 or 19?) - here is the blow-by-blow......
LARK
Great space - old-home-cum-restaurant in Capitol Hill area - we got there early (5:30PM) since they don't take rez for parties <6.
Tapas-style menu, which is a concept that I like - four of us ordered the following over the course of two and a half hours:
* Walla Walla White Asparagus w/soft poached quail's egg and lemon oil - very good - asparagus sweet and al dente, which is unusual - egg and lemon oil dressing were great compliment, as was a small bit of (unidentified) peppery greens (mustard? radish?) that came with it.....
* Full Circle Farm salad vinaigrette - salad lovers raved about it - I say green salad is green salad ....
* Soft shell crab w/ pickled seabeans, toasted garlic & red chile - this was good but got somewhat lost in the maze of other dishes that were ordered - need to try it again to really opine on it.....
* Wild King Salmon with bacon, creamy lentils and baby sorrel - WOW! This got a great reception - bed of lentils with the bacon and sorrrel was great company for a perfectly-cooked chunk of salmon - NICE!
* Sea Scallops with ham hocks, savoy cabbage and foie gras vinaigrette - #1 FAVORITE DISH? Gotta' be right up there - everyone loved this - Savoy cabbage was prepared sauerkraut-style with some added kick from ham hocks - seared scallops sat on top with the foie gras vinaigrette drizzled over it - take me back there NOW....
* Pork belly with wild ramps, stone ground grits and grainy mustard - DEFINITE #1 contender! Two in our party had never had pork belly and were blown away - my wife (Japanese)sees it all the time, so she was less impressed - general concensus was that it was one of best dishes and was mentioned next to the scallops on more than one occasion - try this -you won't be sorry.....
* Baked polenta with roast pork and parmesan - this was done casserole-style - it sounds better than it was - the pork was sliced very thin and got a little dry from baking.....? A little on the salty side - not a bad dish, but not on par with the others....
* Oregon beef hanger steak with asparagus and parsley bearnaise - meat fans loved this - I eat meat, but hanger is not my favorite cut, so I am biased - even so, it was good as hanger goes and the white and green asparagus and bearnaise were nice touches....
* CHEESE - Petit Basque, Rogue River Oregonzola, and Chaorce. AWESOME - I liked the Chaorce - w/ a description like "sexy,ripe, and nearly liquid", how could this not be good! Petit Basque was also wildly popular - cheese was ordered with a tawny 20 yr port, late harvest viognier and a late harvest riesling which were all excellent......
On to Dessert.....Top two were hand-churned malt ice cream and a nectarine tarte tartin - both sublime.....also had a panacotta that was good and a cherry clafouti that was just OK.....
Sorry, can't remember all the wine we drank - was all by the glass and all good - favorite white was a Pinot Gris - WA chardonnay good as well - riesling was OK....Vacqueyras was most popular red....
DEFINITELY GOING BACK HERE ON THE NEXT TRIP......!
Will post the Union dinner next and give the verdict - sorry to keep you waiting...... :)

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